Knight at the Movies ARCHIVES
Drum roll please...
The Ten Best GLBT Movies of 2005
1-4-06 Knight at the Movies/Windy City Times column
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2005: A banner year for GLBT movies and not a bad time to be a gay movie review either
If the early 90s hailed the breakthrough of queer cinema, surely 2005 will go down as the year that gay movies went mainstream.
Look no further than your local Cineplex for immediate proof of that. Perusing the titles you’ll find Brokeback Mountain,
Transamerica, Breakfast on Pluto, Capote, The Family Stone, The Producers, and Rent all playing at once. And it’s been like that all
year – there hasn’t been a month without at least one or two films with heavy GLBT themes or content in theatres. Though the
majority of the titles are still coming from small indie producers and production companies, the continued absorbtion of all things
queer by the mainstream is to be heartily applauded.
There are still thousands of GLBT stories to tell – and hopefully in the future we’ll see more GLBT actors, writers and directors
bringing them to all audiences. I for one await the moment the first A-List male and female star come out while at the peak of their
popularity – without impunity – instead of at the tail end. No matter what, based on the slate of 2005 releases, Queer Cinema is
certainly here to stay. But maybe what is still a distinct subgenre might one day meld so neatly into existing categories – romance,
action, dramedy, etc. – that the distinction of “queer cinema” might become superfluous.
I’d like to point out – as I did last year – that all these “Best of” lists are completely subjective. Perhaps you thought The Island
was as good as it gets while I thought it merely a worthy contender for “Guilty Pleasure of the Year,” for example. My list tends to
shift around with repeat viewings and reconsiderations. With those caveats in mind, here’s my list of the 10 Best GLBT Movies of
2005 (in preferential order):
1. CAPOTE If Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as the diminutive southern writer immersed in the
research and writing of “In Cold Blood” isn’t revelation enough, add a great script by first timer Dan
Futterman (Will Truman’s ex-boyfriend on “Will & Grace”), the first feature from Bennett Miller, and a quiet,
elegiac supporting performance by Catherine Keener as Capote’s friend and research assistant (and reported
lesbian), Harper Lee as well as that of Clifton Collins, Jr. as Perry Smith, the murderer with the soul of a poet
that seemed to entrance Capote.
2. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN Consider these elements: a much lauded short story about cowboys in the
west involved in a tragic romance with each other fleshed out by scriptwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana
Ossana. A film director the caliber of Ang Lee, Oscar winner for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and noted
for his films dealing with emotional purgatory. Two A-List stars that couldn’t be any hotter at the box office
making love on screen: Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. When you’ve finished doing the math you’ll find
that the resulting movie is nothing short of a landmark.
3. MYSTERIOUS SKIN One of the first directors of the queer cinema Gregg Araki returned to form with
this devastating look at the effects of child abuse on two young men (beautifully played by Joseph
Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet). Dreamily filmed and scored (by ambient composer Harold Budd and
Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie), this gut wrenching film also has a last scene that topped anything
else this year.
4. LOGGERHEADS I called this first feature from gay writer-director Tim Kirkman the perfect example of a
perfect “little movie” and I stand by that. This story of a birth mother (Bonnie Hunt in a searing, heartfelt
performance) searching for the son she never knew, the gay drifter Mark (Kip Pardue), and encountering
instead his adoptive, arch conservative parents (Tess Harper and Chris Sarandon) is a deeply rewarding
movie going experience with faultless performances, cinematography, and music.
5. WALK ON WATER Israeli director Eytan Fox and his lover, writer Gal Uchovsky followed up their well
regarded gay cinema favorite Yossi & Jagger with this complicated story of a Mossad agent (Lior Ashkenazi)
ordered to track down a Nazi by posing as a tour guide for his grandchildren, Axel and Pia. The multi-
layered story (it’s also a terrific thriller) focuses on the agent’s gradual acceptance of Axel’s homosexuality
as he confronts his ethnic prejudices. Based on Ashkenazi’s performance (not to mention his heartthrob
good looks), it’s not surprising to learn that he’s Israel’s biggest male star.
6. THE FAMILY STONE Out writer-director Thomas Bezucha follows up Big Eden, his 2000 feature-writing
debut (it’s my all time favorite “gay” movie) with this twist on the romantic comedy staple of a young man
(Dermot Mulroney) bringing home his uptight girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker) to meet his family at
Christmas. Diane Keaton shines as the mother of five who fiercely defends her deaf, gay son in such no
nonsense terms it's like a call to arms. Take that homophobes!
7. MY SUMMER OF LOVE Perhaps the year’s sexiest movie was this dreamy treatise on two very nubile
young ladies in love in the gorgeous, lush English countryside. Startling debut performances from stars
Nathalie Press and Emily Blunt, an evocative soundtrack and a last minute revelation add to the film’s overt
8. THE PRODUCERS The old fashioned musical returns in this remake of the Mel Brooks 1968 classic.
That version was hilarious and proudly heterosexual while this musical remake takes its advice to “Keep It
Gay” at every twist and turn. Badly shot and pitched to the back of the balcony, it’s a triumph of studio
9. TRANSAMERICA Felicity Huffman’s transcendent performance as the pre-op transsexual Bree is what
got writer-director Duncan Tucker’s debut feature a spot on my list. Without Huffman, the movie is a
likeable road movie of no particular distinction. But with Huffman…glorious.
10. D.E.B.S. Lesbian African-American writer-director Angela Robinson (that’s a lot of labels for one little
ole filmmaker) broke through 27,000 barriers with this cute spy spoof parody that’s going to find itself in
esteemed Zoolander territory on DVD sooner or later. The film’s multiple sight gags serve as a backdrop for
the budding romance between super villain Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster) and super spy/schoolgirl Amy
(Sara Foster) that is sweet and silly.